Blogs (Media Centre)

TAFE Digital graduate helps youth in remote West communities make a brighter future

TAFE Digital

11 February 2019

According the a NSW Government report during 2016-17, more than 5,462 young people aged 15-24 years were living in unstable housing and needed specialist homelessness services. By June 2019, one in three (34 per cent) of these young people will move to stable housing after using specialist homelessness services.

Kids Out West employee and Leeton resident, Kellie Thurgate chose to study a Diploma of Community Services with TAFE Digital to gain formal qualifications in her quest to help youth in an industry sector she is passionate about and currently working in.

Living in a semi-remote area of NSW, studying online with TAFE Digital was a natural choice for Ms Thurgate who works on average 100 hours per fortnight, does bookwork for her husband’s business on top of being a mum, grandmother and running a household.

“I needed the flexibility to study at my own pace at home and set my own study hours, which was often late at night,” Ms Thurston said. ”Help from my teachers was just a phone call, or email, away when needed. I set high expectations for myself, so having quick access to teaching staff with a wealth of knowledge was reassuring and of great benefit to me.”

Ms Thurgate said, “I have wanted to do this course for many years and after gaining employment with Kids Out West three years ago, I knew the time was right to develop my career further so that I could meet the needs of my clients.”

Ms Thurgate is a youth worker who provides support services to children and young people in OOHC (Out of Home Care) or who are involved in family legal matters in NSW. “My work environment may differ from shift to shift as we are a non-placement service and I travel tens of thousands of kilometres per year. The work is challenging at times and definitely not for the faint hearted - there are tears and frustration, but also much laughter.”

“Three clients will always have a place in my heart,” said Ms Thurgate. “These children came into our care broken after experiencing significant trauma in their young lives. We worked closely with them using the trauma and informed care model to help build trust by providing stability and a safe environment for the healing process to begin. All three of these children have flourished and were successful in finding permanent placement with loving families.”

“Looking forward, I would like to continue my studies in mental health or corrective services as I am passionate about helping local people in need overcome obstacles and assisting them in making their future brighter,” Ms Thurgate said.

Media contact: Bonny Gunn, TAFE Digital Media Business Partner. Mobile 0417 134 048.